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CFPB Calls For Greater Data Integrity in Debt Collection

Steven Antonakes

Steven Antonakes

Recent remarks from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Deputy Director Steven Antonakes indicate that the CFPB remains particularly interested in data integrity during debt collection.

Speaking at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition Annual Conference in Washington yesterday, Antonakes said the bureau is “concerned that the accuracy of account information degrades as it passed on from the original creditor to debt collection firms or debt buyers.” Antonakes also suggested that improvements in data integrity will further the bureau’s efforts “to ensure that collectors are seeking to recover debts from the right person in the right amounts.”

Concerns over data integrity are consistent with the bureau’s policy statement in its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking under the the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. There, it said:

“The Bureau believes that improving the integrity and flow of information within the debt collection system is of critical importance.”

The ANPR sought information on the adequacy of information included in debt sales or that is provided by creditors to their third-party collectors. The Bureau’s concerns over data integrity are not limited to consumers’ financial information. Information concerning disputes by consumers or their demands to cease collections communications are within the scope of data integrity. So too would be information concerning a consumer’s representation by counsel. The CFPB is just as interested in how this information is communicated among participants in the debt collection process.

If the CFPB does issue FDCPA rules, expect it to include requirements designed to ensure the collection, maintenance and transfer of accurate information throughout the debt collection process. All participants in the creation, sale and collection of consumer debt should examine their operations and consider whether any measures can be deployed to enhance data integrity, whether it is information they create or acquire from a third party.

November 6 Webinar: What Debt Collectors, Debt Buyers, and Collection Lawyers Need To Know About the CFPB Larger Participant Rule and CFPB Exams

Election Day is next Tuesday and it is also an opportunity to learn more about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s plans to regulate attorneys and small businesses. Join me at 11:30 am ET along with Alan Kaplinsky, Chris Willis and John Culhane of Ballard Spahr for this webinar on the Larger Participant Rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week. I’ll be discussing the CFPB’s plan to regulate even small businesses and law firms it deems as “service providers.” Ballard Spahr publishes the which is a must read for anyone connected to the consumer financial services industry. This is my second time speaking with Alan and Chris and if you have not heard them speak on the topic, then this webinar is a “must attend” event.

Ballard Spahr is providing the webinar at no cost. You can register here.